From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Desertification and Land Degradation
Mains level : Various initiatives for water conservation
The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has provided useful information about land degradation in India citing the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas.
Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India
- Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO has released out an inventory and monitoring of desertification of the entire country in 2016.
- This Atlas presents state-wise desertification and land degradation status maps depicting land use, process of degradation and severity level.
- This was prepared using IRS Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data of 2011-13 and 2003-05 time frames in GIS environment.
- Area under desertification / land degradation for the both time frames and changes are reported state-wise as well as for the entire country.
Degraded land in India
- About 29.32% of the Total Geographical Area of the country is undergoing the process of desertification/land degradation.
- Approximately 6.35% of land in Uttar Pradesh is undergoing desertification/degradation.
Various move for land conservation
- National Afforestation & Eco Development Board (NAEB) Division of the MoEFCC is implementing the “National Afforestation Programme (NAP)” for ecological restoration of degraded forest areas.
- Various other schemes like Green India Mission, fund accumulated under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), Nagar Van Yojana etc. also help in checking degradation and restoration of forest landscape.
- MoEF&CC also promote tree outside forests realizing that the country has a huge potential for increasing its Trees Outside Forest (TOF) area primarily through expansion of agroforestry, optimum use of wastelands and vacant lands.
Various institutions for land conservation
- Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (IISWC): Bio-engineering measures to check soil erosion due to run-off of rain water
- Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur: Sand dune stabilization and shelter belt technology to check wind erosion
- Council through Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal: Reclamation technology, sub-surface drainage, bio-drainage, agroforestry interventions and salt tolerant crop varieties to improve the productivity of saline, sodic and waterlogged soils in the country